Torch Article: Reverendly Yours - Rev. Tom Goldsmith

01 June 2018

If the church year feels like a marathon, we’re down to the last .2 miles. Just a tantalizing little stretch remains before we can call the race completed. At our final staff meeting of the year, I could tell that everyone felt a bit depleted, but it was a very good run. There’s just enough left in the tank to finish it all up.

What an extraordinary year it has been! Aside from our major spurt of energy focused on providing sanctuary, with a stellar steering committee guiding about 200 volunteers, we continued our usual social justice outreach by furnishing apartments for refugee families, providing meals for homeless teens, and the work of environmental ministry continuing to educate and witness. 

Our nation’s change of leadership in 2016 has helped us define more clearly (for ourselves and others) just what progressive religion really means. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, made an innocent stab last week at defining progressive. He said progressives were godless people, and in a way he was absolutely correct. Progressives are godless only in that they lack the Michelangelo concept of a heavenly deity who commands and judges and instills fear in the hearts of us all. Progressives live their religion through acts of love and compassion, hearts open to strangers, inspired by a gospel of justice rather than a gospel of wealth.

The .2 miles remaining in this church year includes the Pride Service and Pride Parade (not high on Franklin’s list of religious injunctions), and a closing church service on June 10th followed by the all-church picnic in Sugar House Park. Monica and I will share the pulpit on the 10th, and I will do the worship service on Father’s Day, June 17th. 

We are extremely fortunate that between finishing the church marathon this year and beginning a new race in the 2018-2019 year, we have the refreshing coolness of Summer Forum. Once again we’ll be treated to a smorgasbord of politics, arts, and hot-button issues. Proudly our church never rests, ready to serve our congregation and the larger community 52 Sunday a year. 

I hope we are all filled with gratitude as we finish out this church year. Monica Dobbins has made a huge difference in the life of the church; Lynda Garlick, our intern, contributed mightily to a successful year; our music department, led by a pair of Davids, maintains its excellence, Religious Education, entrusted with the huge responsibility of educating future progressives, keeps raising the bar. We will miss Julie Miller’s leadership very much, her joy and expertise. Welcome Amanda to the DRE position. And Hal Gonzales and Stefanie Park run the administration of the church with amazing smoothness and grace. Our sexton, Layne Owens, continues to keep the church looking in great condition despite the enormous traffic in our building. 

And to all who read this article, THANK YOU for your amazing support, constructive criticism, and love poured into this humble little church community. Honestly, this church is all about you! The staff and I work for you. Your attention, committee work, worship support, generosity of spirit and pocketbook are what keeps us going. You provide the fuel for this marathon of a church year. 

And now with the summer virtually upon us, let us take a breather, get re-energized, and return with renewed vigor and determination. I’m sure the summer will provide us with new material on how to exercise our progressive ideals once we reconvene. 

And personally, thank you for a wonderful year and the opportunity to keep serving you. TRG